I’ve had a few breakthroughs in the past month or so by talking with a few experts on paddle technique and downwind racing tips. One of the experts is Todd Bradley who has over 40 years of competitive paddling experience. He’s done dozens of Molokai (32 miles) to Oahu crossings in SUP, OC-1, OC-6, paddleboard, etc and has a long history of winning and training winners like Karel Tresnak Jr. The whole conversation started after we saw a low res video of Todd teaching the paddle stroke to Chip Bock on what looked like a sidewalk on the edge of a body of water.
He kept referring to ‘punching’ with the top arm and during discussion with Harris Chang and Randy Lui-Kwan, we were all trying to figure out if it worked and what Todd was talking about. I’ve been paddling with my top arm straight and pulling w/ my bottom arm and torso. It worked good for me, or so I thought. Anyway, I snagged Todd in Waikiki and shot this video of him explaining what he meant by ‘punching’ and the proper paddle stroke in general. Then I had Todd video me doing the stroke so I and others can see what he’s trying to teach. Check it out.
Todd also shared this with us:
Shots from the start of the Molokai race…good for technique study…
#1 Release with upright clean posture. No compression of the front of the board.
#2 Swing, Twist, Load Top arm up for Punch and Drive
Drive top arm re-coil twist, Drive off foot (See Posture of person in background, too much compression with bend and lunge)
Snap release and repeat.